January 18, 2021

12 Days Of Christmas Cookie Countdown: Day 2 Russian Tea Cakes

photo via whatscookingamerica.net

Welcome to Day 2 of our 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Countdown.

Today’s cookie recipe has the distinct honor of going by at least 4 or 5 other names that I am aware of, and possibly even more!

When I was growing up we called them Russian Tea Cakes, but you may know them as Butterballs, Mexican Wedding Cakes, or Snowballs.

No matter the name, these buttery melt-in-your mouth cookies are always a holiday favorite.

Today’s Russian Tea Cake recipe is taken right from the pages of Betty Crocker’s 1950 ‘s Cookbook old collections and keepsake recipes.

Russian Tea Cakes Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 32 minutes

Yield: 4 dozen


1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sifted powdered (confectioners’) sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour*
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely-chopped toasted nuts (nuts of your choice)**
Powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

* To ensure recipe success, do not use self-rising flour.

** How to toast nuts – Spread nuts in a single layer on a baking pan (one with walls is best) for toasting in the oven. Cook at 400 degrees F for 7 to 10 minutes or until the nuts start to turn golden. Shake the pan halfway through toasting.


In a large bowl of your electric mixer, cream butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.

Sift in flour and salt; stir until well mixed. Mix in nuts.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls.  Tip: A small ice cream scoop is ideal for making uniform-sized cookies.

Place dough balls onto ungreased cookie sheets with about 1-inch of space between them.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown.  Remove from oven and cool slightly on wire cooling racks.

While cookies are baking, place the powdered sugar in a shallow dish.  While still warm, roll cookies in powdered sugar until completely coated.  When cookies have cooled, roll them again in the confectioners sugar to give them a nice even coating of sugar.  The first rolling allows the sugar to melt into the cookies – the second rolling gives the finished snowy-white topping.

Store in an airtight container.

Variation: Substitute 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips for the nuts.

Source:  This recipe is originally from a 1950’s Betty Crocker Cookbook.

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